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Julius Jones (American football)

Julius Jones (American football)

American football running back

Julius Andre Maurice Jones (born August 14, 1981) is a former American football running back. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round of the 2004 NFL Draft. He also played for the Seattle Seahawks and the New Orleans Saints. He played college football at the University of Notre Dame.

Early years

Jones was born in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. His mother, Betty, worked the graveyard shift in a Virginia coal mine for nearly 20 years while raising seven children, including his older brother Thomas Jones. While in Appalachia, Virginia, his father encouraged the children to learn five new words per day and made them read the front page of the newspaper before they could read the sports section. Jones credits his parents with instilling the ambition and strong work ethic that he is known for in professional football.

He attended Powell Valley High School, where he was a letterman in football, basketball, and track. In football, as a senior he registered 2,564 yards and 36 touchdowns, earning honorable-mention USA Today All-American honors.

He contributed to his school winning 28 straight games and the Virginia Group A-Division II state title in 1997 and 1998 while being named the Virginia Group A Offensive Player of the Year in both years. He finished his high school career with 614 carries for 5,803 yards and 86 touchdowns. He also played safety and had 10 career interceptions.

College career

Jones played college football at the University of Notre Dame from 1999 to 2001 and 2003. As a freshman, he was a backup, playing mainly on special teams, while leading the team in both kickoff and punt return yardage, he also recorded 146-rushing yards and one touchdown against Navy. As a sophomore, he was a part of a three-back rotation that included Tony Fisher and Terrance Howard, which limited him to only three 100 rushing yards games. In 2002, he was suspended from the team because of academic reasons.

In 2003, although he began the season as a backup to Ryan Grant, he became the starter after the fifth game when he set a single-game school record for rushing yards (262) against the University of Pittsburgh. He had three 200-yard rushing performances, which is another school record, and one of the best single seasons ever by an Irish running back. He posted 229 carries for 1,268 yards (tied for the fourth-most in school history) and 10 touchdowns. He finished his college career as one of only four running backs in school history to rush for over 3,000 yards. He also set school records for kickoff return yards (1,678), combined kick return yards (2,104) and all-purpose yards (5,372).

Timeline

August 14, 1981
Julius Jones was born in Big Stone Gap.

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